Game 1: Friday, September 9th
Jays lose, 3-13
Losing Pitcher: Marco Estrada
This game was ugly. Here is a cute puppy instead.
The Red Sox scored in each of the first five innings (twice in the 3rd) and Marco Estrada was pulled after 2.1 innings. Estrada’s replacement, Aaron Loup, got lucky when he came into the 3rd with runners on the corners and got a double play on his second pitch. Kevin Pillar combined with Dioner Navarro and Josh Donaldson to get Dustin Pedroia out at 3rd on his own RBI single. Navarro also made an amusing catch on a foul pop-up. But other than that, defensive ineptitude plagued the Jays – Melvin Upton dropped an easy-looking pop-up in the 3rd, then Devon Travis made a fielding error in the 7th.
The Jays got two runs in the 3rd after loading the bases on two hits and a walk. Devon Travis drove in a pair with a single to make it 4-2 Boston. That 2-run deficit would be the smallest they’d have all game, because things just went downhill from there. The Jays got nothing but a HBP and an infield single in the 4th and 5th, then some umpiring weirdness in the 6th that saw Troy Tulowitzki accused of runner’s interference and basically replaced at first base with Dioner Navarro. Meanwhile, the Red Sox piled onto the Jays’ bullpen. They scored one off Danny Barnes over two innings, and four off Scott Feldman (including a three-run Hanley Ramirez homer) in the 7th. Feldman couldn’t even record an out, although only three runs were earned because of Travis’ error. Loup and Brett Cecil (who struck out two in the 6th) would be the only Toronto pitchers to not give up a run.
Ryan Tepera and Matt Dermody split the remaining innings, allowing two runs apiece. The only other Blue Jays run came in the 8th after two singles, Edwin Encarnacion scored as a fielding error allowed Dioner Navarro to reach base safely.
A pre-game ‘players-only’ meeting seemed to do the trick, as the Blue Jays picked up their first win in five games. They only had six hits (including three for leadoff man Devon Travis), but that would be all they needed. Melvin Upton Jr. hit a two-run jack in the 2nd, scoring Russell Martin with his 20th homer of the season. In the next inning, Josh Donaldson reached on a fielder’s choice, and advanced when Travis was tagged out at third. Donaldson got to third on an error by third baseman (and former Blue Jay) Aaron Hill, then scored on a Jose Bautista single.
Eduardo Rodriguez pitched six innings for the Red Sox and retired nine straight batters after a leadoff walk in the 4th. On the other side of things, J.A. Happ had a no-hitter until one out into the 5th, though he had allowed one walk and hit a batter in the 2nd. One batter before Happ allowed the first Boston hit of the game, Russell Martin leapt into the Red Sox dugout in an effort to catch a foul ball.
A leadoff home run to Dustin Pedroia in the 6th was the first run Happ allowed, he then started the 7th and allowed two singles, one of which scored on a sac fly after Happ was out of the game. The combined efforts of Joaquin Benoit, Jason Grilli and Roberto Osuna maintained the one-run lead, with Osuna striking out Jackie Bradley Jr. to end the game and strand the tying run at first.
All but one of Toronto’s eight runs came via the longball. Already down 1-0 in the 1st, Edwin Encarnacion tied things with a solo shot. Boston pulled ahead again with a three-run homer from Jackie Bradley Jr. in the 2nd. The 3rd inning was the only time in the first seven that the Red Sox didn’t score, helped perhaps by Kevin Pillar’s catch against the wall to rob David Ortiz of extra bases.
A dramatic bottom 3rd for the Blue Jays resulted in a five-run rally that went as follows: Devon Travis led off, and flew out to the first baseman in foul territory. Josh Donaldson walked, Encarnacion singled, Jose Bautista walked and the bases were loaded. Russell Martin walked, bringing in a run. Then Troy Tulowitzki took the first pitch he saw from Clay Buchholz and drove it into the stands in left field.
Buchholz left the game after three innings and Aaron Sanchez followed suit after he gave up a two-run single to Xander Bogaerts in the 4th. Encarnacion once again broke the tie with a two-run homer in the bottom half of the frame to make it 8-6. Joe Biagini allowed a solo homer to Hanley Ramirez in the 5th, reducing the Jays’ lead to one run. The Jays lucked out that inning, as Brock Holt walked, then got all the way to third on a failed pickoff attempt by Biagini. Holt then tried to steal home, but was successfully thrown out by Aaron Loup.
Ortiz gave the Red Sox the lead with a three-run homer in 6th off Joaquin Benoit. The two runners Ortiz drove in were Bo Schultz’s responsibility, therefore he was charged with the loss. Sandy Leon padded the lead in the 7th with a double off Danny Barnes that cashed in a walk. The Blue Jays stranded five baserunners over the last five innings – they had three hits, two walks, as well as forcing a pair of errors, but they also ground into two double plays. For a brief moment in the 9th, it looked like Russell Martin had hit a one-out double with a man on second, which would have brought the tying run to the plate. Instead the umpires decided the ball was foul and John Gibbons was ejected for arguing. Martin’s at-bat resulted in a strikeout, and Tulowitzki popped out to end the game.
Of course David Ortiz hit what would be the winning home run for Boston on Sunday. It’s naive to assume the visiting player with the most home runs in SkyDome history would retire without one last parting ‘gift’. Speaking of which, it’s pretty bizarre (albeit very Canadian) that the Jays gave him not one, but TWO Canada Goose parkas as a retirement present. They realize he’s from the Dominican, right? Where it’s warm, and one would have no need for a heavy winter coat?
It was revealed after Sunday’s game that Sanchez had a blister on a finger on his pitching hand, which explains his lack of command. He’s expected to miss his next start as a result.
Game 1 of this series was the only game all season I willingly turned off before it was over. After the sweep in New York, I was in no mood to watch more embarrassing baseball. I turned it off the game in the top of the 7th, when it was 9-2. By the end of that inning, it was 11-2. I think I made a good choice.
Taz Tulowitzki apparently enjoys running the bases with his dad and teammates after Saturday games. He also preaches the HDMH message, because he’s tiny and adorable.
Weirdly Specific Record Alert:
- Sunday’s game was just the third in MLB history with 18 pitchers. (And none of them were position players!)
- Edwin Encarnacion now has the third-most multi-home run games in team history, passing Vernon Wells with his 22nd
My favourite player(s) this series: Tulowitzki/Happ
In a series full of slumps, misplayed balls, and overall ugliness, two performances stood out in the best way possible. Troy Tulowitzki’s grand slam on Sunday was a beautiful, thrilling, exciting moment and it’s a shame it wasn’t enough to win the game. He had two more hits in his 4-RBI game Sunday, and walked once each on Saturday and Sunday. In total he was 5-for-11 on the weekend with a home run and two walks, as he also had two hits in Friday’s blowout – he consistently got on base, but nobody brought him in.
J.A. Happ performed no easy task on Saturday, holding the most dominant offense in baseball hitless into the fifth inning. During that period of time, only two of the balls Boston made contact on left the infield. Happ only walked one, and until the 6th hadn’t allowed a run either. That performance, and some help from the bullpen, was crucial in holding the lead for the Jays.
Where we are now:
Tied with Baltimore for second place in the division, and the wild card spot, 2 games back of Boston.
The bad news is, losing tight games to division rivals can only hurt in the long run. The road doesn’t get much easier from here, with a series against Tampa next. Two of their most reliable starters seem to be faltering, and a few key members aside, they haven’t quite found their offense.
The good news is, they didn’t get swept, and they scored more than three runs off the opposing team’s starter for the first time since August 28th.
Need a pep talk? Here’s Troy Tulowitzki:
Troy Tulowitzki on where the Blue Jays stand after dropping two of three to the Red Sox this weekend: pic.twitter.com/AdKrmbR8uZ
— Arden Zwelling (@ArdenZwelling) September 11, 2016
Follow me on Twitter: @JaysGirlEmily
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